The highly anticipated Joss Whedon episode of Glee, "Dream On", features Artie admitting to his girlfriend, his school counselor and himself that his dream is to become a dancer. Tina does research showing advances in spinal cord injury therapy, raising Artie's hopes, only to have Emma, the school counselor, point out that these "miracle cures" are a decade away. The episode ends with Artie sadly singing "Dream a Little Dream" and Tina dances with another man. I'm sure that there's not a dry eye in the Gleekdom.
What's terribly sad is that it's completely unnecessary. Had Tina entered the terms "Wheelchair Dance" into Google instead, she would have found that 22 countries have participated in a wheelchair dance sport competition association annually since 1998 and that there's a reality program on BBC3 devoted to selecting their nation's dance competitors. Whedon and the show's writers should have known about integrated dance, which crafts distinct movements and kinetics by using dancers with and without physical disabilities. Practiced over the past three decades by more than two dozen dance companies worldwide, this genre includes numbers choreographed by such movement innovators as Bill T. Jones, Joanna Haigood, Victoria Marks, Stephen Petronio and Margaret Jenkins, amongst others. If you'd like to see an example of how beautiful a dancer Artie could be, watch this short clip of the AXIS dance company's 2009 performance of "Light Shelter". Note how the choreography treats the assistive technology as a part of the body, which allows for greater complexity. The dancers use the handles for lifts. The wheels aid jumps. There are dips, tilts and spins. One dancer twirls another in the air slowly, chair and all.
I remember when Joss Whedon threatened to walk off the set so that he could have two women in a committed relationship kiss on screen. I wish he'd had the same moral courage to stand up to the creators of Glee rather than lie to American audiences just for the sake of a cheap sentimental plot twist. Your writing over three series shows that authenticity makes for vastly better drama than is on display here.
Seriously, Joss, make the Glee writers do the research. Reality is much more interesting than the smallness of the dreams on display in this episode of Glee.